Carl Salomon was a stone’s throw from his home when he made the fatal decision to take a pre-dawn dip in Sydney Harbour after a night out drinking.
The talented sportsman and a friend, both 19, jumped a fence early on Thursday morning and swam out to a construction barge off the Balmain East wharf in the city’s inner west.
Mr Salomon and his friend began climbing a 30-metre high crane that jutted out over the harbour.
Police believe Mr Salomon, a former Newington College student, continued ahead of his mate up the boom before he landed in the water.
It is understood investigators believe Mr Salomon most likely jumped rather than fell off the crane because the teen cleared the barge below.
When he did not resurface, his mate swam around the wharf for 10 minutes in a desperate attempt to find him.
Less than four hours later, police divers pulled Mr Salomon’s body from the water.
A steady stream of friends and his grief-stricken parents visited the construction site and laid flowers for the University of Sydney student.
“Carl was obviously one of our best friends and a top bloke,” friend Marcus Atallah said.
“He probably enjoyed himself the most out of anyone I know – that’s the way we want people to know him.”
Mr Salomon was planning to leave the family home in Balmain East and move to St Paul’s College at the University of Sydney.
The keen rower and volleyball player’s good looks were the butt of cheeky jokes among his friends, who fondly remembered Salomon as a ladies’ man.
“He got along with a lot of people. He was always there for other people so we will always be there for him,” friend James Smith said.
Marine Command Acting Inspector Alex Barrell said it was a tragic incident.
“This is just a case where it appears that skylarking with some alcohol involved has led to the tragic death of a 19-year-old male, which could have been absolutely avoided,” he said.